“My life has changed for the better with my positive experiences in volunteering with IVC. I wish I had joined earlier!” states Joan Lee, who became an IVC Cincinnati volunteer in 2011. Joan rearranged her other responsibilities, including switching days babysitting her grandchildren, to live out IVC’s mission of service and spiritual reflection. “I’ve certainly gotten so much out of the experience”.
Joan, a nurse by professional background, splits her IVC time between two agencies – the St. Vincent de Paul free drug program and Power Inspires Progress’s Venice on Vine restaurant job training program.
At the St. Vincent de Paul free drug program, Joan interviews and qualifies applicants for the program. “We take time with people, have conversations with them. Sometimes, people will start telling us their life story. I stop the interview, sit there, and just be with them. I’ve seen the impact that one crisis, like losing a job, can have. But for the grace of God, I could be sitting there across the desk. And they’re so joyful!”
Joan feels that her work at St. Vincent de Paul, and her other placement at the Venice on Vine restaurant job training program have expanded her perspectives. “I’ve never been in these areas of our city before”, she states. “I have not had a lot of interaction with people who needed to turn their lives around.
In the back of my mind, there was a stereotype of ‘lazy people looking for a handout’. [Those in the job training program] have good attitudes, good job ethic, and a strong camaraderie at work.” She describes that through this program, trainees are proving that they are employable, even if they’ve made mistakes in the past that reflect poorly on their employment history. They are getting their GEDs, demonstrating their reliability, and learning relevant skills. “The trainees are on a positive track. They are hopeful and grateful.”
Joan spends her time there in the catering division, prepping food, teaching techniques, and delivering food. She spends time encouraging those she works with. “I’m very impressed with the trainees.”
“The people who I work with are so kind. I’ve had all positive experiences”, she states.
When asked whether she plans to continue as an IVC Volunteer next year, Joan enthusiastically responded, “Definitely!”.